The Final Stretch to the 2020 Elections Part I of a II Part Series

The final stretch is a call for citizens to exercise their right to vote to make a difference in the 2020 elections.  Citizens please go register and vote.  We only have a few weeks remaining to REGISTER AND VOTE.  Early voting is already underway in several states.  News accounts show citizens standing in long lines for hours in the heat of the day waiting to cast their ballots.  They have done so even at the risk of contracting COVID 19.  These highly charged and devoted voters are to be thanked and commended for their bravery and commitment to our democracy. Their willingness to endure and suffer from tired bodies and aching feet is a demonstration of remarkable courage, strength, and commitment to their civic duties and responsibilities.  Their commitment is also a glowing testament to the distance citizens will go to cast their precious ballots and to get a glimpse and perhaps a taste of freedom and equality.  Citizens want to believe that in the final stretch, the nation will begin to move with all deliberate speed towards the fulfilment its public pronouncement cited in the preamble of the United States Constitution, and to give reverence and recognition to a national movement that is sweeping across the country, a movement calling for liberty and justice for all citizens.

Once again, we hasten to reiterate that the final stretch to the 2020 election has much to do about restoring public trust and integrity in government, restoring pride and confidence in citizens, and is about committing to a noble calling and pursuit of achieving social, racial, and economic parity and justice regardless of the color of skin, color or texture of an individual’s hair.  This election is sure to test the strength and resiliency of our democracy.  It will shake the very foundation of the nation and should stir the human heart and the soul of the nation.  Citizens will be choosing and deciding the path the nation will take for years to come if not for centuries to come.  In the process citizens should not be swayed by those who are contending that the upcoming election is rigged and there will be widespread voter fraud.  Do not fall for this rhetoric.  Know that YOUR VOTE will only COUNT when you cast a ballot.

There have been reports of so many touching and moving stories and encouraging accounts of countrymen and women standing in long voting lines for hours waiting to cast their ballots and to demonstrate the importance of fulfilling one’s civic duty and responsibility.  Many voters noted that they are willing to stand for whatever time it takes to cast a vote in this election.  They mentioned that although their feet may have become tired and achy from the long wait,. though their bodies may have grown weary from being masked for hours and from practicing social distancing, they were determined not to let any obstacles, or any barriers stop them from casting their vote in this critical election.  Many years ago as people of color were engaged in the marches, protests and demonstrations against segregation, Jim Crow laws and other oppressive tactics and measures employed to disenfranchise African American citizens, an elderly lady of color who was  walking along side Dr. King on the march from Montgomery to Selma was asked, “old lady don’t you get tired from the toil, the endless marching, the blistering and scorching heat, the elderly lady responded yes my feet are tired but my soul is rested”.

In many ways the last stretch to the 2020 election is a reflection of a profound and deeper commonality of hopes, dreams and aspirations of men and women such as Rosa Parks, Fredrick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jimmie Lee Jackson, Thurgood Marshall, Civil Rights crusader Fannie Lou Hammer, Shirley Chisholm, Markus Garvey, Nelson Mandela, Congressmen Elijah Cumming and John Lewis, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harriet Tubman, and Viola Liuzzo the only white woman to die in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960.

I want to  extend an invitation to the citizens of Jackson Parish and surrounding communities to attend a candidate forum sponsored by the Democratic Parish Executive Committee and the Jackson Parish Branch of the NAACP, which is to be held on Saturday, October 17th, at the Charles H. Garrett Community center located on 162 Industrial Drive. Jonesboro, Louisiana, beginning at 1: O’clock p.m. You will have an opportunity to hear from candidates running for Judgeships, District Attorney, and US Congress and Senate.  All attendees will be required to practice social distancing and wear a protective mask. I will be the moderator for the event.

Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr. is an associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, former President, Grambling State University Faculty Senate and former Chair, Department of Consumer Education and Resource Management, Howard University, Washington, D.C.


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